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A Simple Interpretation of Christianity
In a moment of sincere dedication towards completely leaving a destructive path (filled with "sin") we can come to experience Christ, the living archetype for purely constructive human behavior (perfect "virtue") and the manifestation of Love itself. In so doing, we are given The Holy Spirit, a new way of understanding and perceiving the world. In other words, we "take up our cross" (or die completely to our old self) and are "born again" (or become wholly changed from within). While this change can take many forms, seeming to be either drastic or subtle on the outside, what matters most is that it is marked by honesty and humility on the inside.
This is the "good news", that no matter who you are or what you have done before (even if you are convinced that you are "unsavable", "unlovable", "broken", "disgusting", etc.), everyone (absolutely none excluded) is worthy to experience the Love that is Christ. "Grace" means that it cannot be earned, but it is a gift that we are freely given by our Heavenly Father when we are fully open to receiving it. It cannot be forced, because the compassionate nature of Christ is to heal and teach those who ask. The only thing that each of us has to do is make that first step in accepting the existence of Christ on some level, no matter how small and insignificant that initial choice may seem, and then Christ can start to become known to us because we have allowed it. After this first experience, we go through a process of growth (or "sanctification") wherein The Holy Spirit is made more and more manifest within us in order to bring us into a closer correspondence with Christ. How is this done?
The Holy Spirit "convicts" (meaning that it heightens our conscience), but it does not "condemn" (meaning that it does not allow us to pass judgment on others or ourselves in ways that are harmful). It also helps us to "test the spirits" (meaning that it gives us discernment in determining what is truly constructive or destructive both inside and out despite its appearances, and to make choices accordingly). Eventually, we start to "bear fruit" (externalize the archetypal virtues of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control in honor of our Heavenly Father and in emulation of Christ). We thus become a Child of the Most High God, and everyone who does the same is our brother or sister because they are sons and daughters of the same Heavenly Father. Likewise, the "church" is not a physical building, but is equivalent to The Body of Christ. This is more than just a metaphor or a symbolic ritual, but a way of living. Further, it is not a religion, but a personal relationship with the fundamental aspects of this reality.
It is very important to realize that these archetypal virtues do not come from us alone, but through us. Therefore, we cannot take credit for it, and should steadfastly refuse to become prideful over it. All we can do is experience gratitude to have been a "witness" to the constructive changes that The Holy Spirit has made in us, and humbly share it with all others (or give our "testimony") in the sincere hope that they might experience the same within themselves. Notice the terminology used here: A witness is one who has a first-hand account of some event, and only a witness can give their testimony. This is how the "good news" is spread.
Why would it be important to share it? Because this process of "sanctification" is more than just individual, it is is collective!